Beatles – Helter Skelter

This is my tenth and last song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. The Beatles Helter Skelter.

I want to thank Hans for hosting this draft and having me as one of the participants. Thanks everyone for the great songs. A Beatles song had to be in play in the draft for me. I didn’t pick my favorite Beatles song, but one that scared the hell out of me as a kid. This song gave me the creeps because it was so loud. That was before I saw the Manson TV movie.

Now, the sheer energy of it gets me every time. In 1964 they gave us I Want To Hold Your Hand and four years later we hear Helter Skelter…that is growing and versatility. This song was by the band I most admire and it was influenced by another band I admire…The Who…sort of.

The origin of the song…I’ll turn it over to Paul: “I was in Scotland and I read in Melody Maker that Pete Townshend had said: ‘We’ve just made the raunchiest, loudest, most ridiculous rock’n’roll record you’ve ever heard.’ I never actually found out what track it was that The Who had made, but that got me going, just hearing him talk about it. So I said to the guys, ‘I think we should do a song like that; something really wild.’ And I wrote ‘Helter Skelter.’”

The track that Townshend was talking is thought to be I Can See For Miles. Paul took the description and ran with it. Paul and George played the guitars while John played a six string bass…Mr blisters on his fingers played drums.

I’ve played this song at the different places I’ve worked (on cassette and computer) and I get inquiries…who is that? When I tell them who…they don’t believe me at first. A reply that I have got is… no that is NOT The Beatles…that is just not them. This is why I love the Beatles. They covered genres well.

The song has picked up evil vibes along the way because of Manson grabbing the title for his awful deeds. Some have said it was the first Heavy Metal song, but I don’t hear that. I do think it was a cog in the machine and influenced the harder bands though.

I’ve heard so many bands try to cover this song…even down to heavier bands and none match the intensity and energy of this recording. The secret is the punk rawness with it’s jagged edges showing. The only cover I like is U2’s live version on Rattle and Hum because it helped the song regain it’s reputation back and take it from Manson’s grasp to a then modern audience.

I’ve played this song with a band a few times and that little riff is so powerful and so much fun to play. I told the rest of the band…no distortion boxes…no processing…just pure loud overdrive (turn it up to 11 and beyond)…and it works.

The White Album…another reason I love it…you have Blackbird, Rocky Racoon, Dear Prudence, and Helter Skelter on the same album. The album is the very definition of eclectic.

Thank you all again for the songs.

Helter Skelter

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again

Do, don’t you want me to love you
I’m coming down fast but I’m miles above you
Tell me, tell me, tell me, come on tell me the answer
Well, you may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer

Helter skelter, helter skelter
Helter skelter

Will you, won’t you want me to make you
I’m coming down fast but don’t let me break you
Tell me, tell me, tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer

Look out
Helter skelter, helter skelter
Helter skelter
Look out, ’cause here she comes

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
And I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
And I get to the bottom and I see you again, yeah, yeah

Well do you, don’t you want me to make you
I’m coming down fast but don’t let me break you
Tell me, tell me, tell me your answer
You may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer

Look out
Helter skelter, helter skelter
Helter skelter

Look out, helter skelter
She’s coming down fast
Yes, she is
Yes, she is
Coming down fast

(I’ve got blisters on my fingers)